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Catalog Choice Lightens The Load

During this, the first week of autumn, weather in Sanatoga PA began to turn cooler and mail delivery burdens began to get heavier. Your postal carrier doesn’t have to look at a thermometer to know that catalog season, like Fall, is in full swing.

Full-color, trendy and often inspirational, merchants’ catalogs are standard reading fare in households across the Delaware Valley. Many consumers prefer them to keep up with what’s new at favorite stores and retailers, the Internet notwithstanding. Merchants know catalogs are effective, too, by the measure of goods they sell.

Direct-mail catalogs are so successful that – like so much e-mail spam – they now clog mailboxes of recipients who never ordered and don’t want them. A mountain of undesired catalogs wastes paper and ink, delivery fuel and, worse, consumers’ time. It also gives merchants a bad name. So vendors like Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and Crate & Barrel are partnering with a free service called Catalog Choice.

Catalog Choice is the nation’s largest independent catalog preference service. It’s been operating for only 11 months, but on Thursday (Sept. 25, 2008) announced it had registered its one millionth member.

A not-for-profit organization, Catalog Choice was created last October to provide consumers with a free and easy-to-use way to reduce the number of unwanted catalogs they receive, and to communicate catalog preferences. Its website also provides direct links to merchants and electronic versions of many catalogs. Other merchants working with Catalog Choice include West Elm, CB2, L.L. Bean, Orchard Brands, and the American Catalog Mailers Association.

Member merchants agree to abide by preferences stated by individual consumers at the website. Participants register at no cost to create an account, indicate which catalogs they want to get (or not), then log off. Requests made through Catalog Choice are honored in a secure and timely manner. Preferences can be updated at any time.

Catalog Choice is endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and is supported with funding from The Overbrook Foundation, the Kendeda Fund, the Merck Family Fund, the Weeden Foundation, and Mead Foundation.

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